Its 3+ weeks since I’ve written a blog entry; not because I’d forgotten, or I couldn’t be bothered, but because the main things that were happening in my life weren’t yet for ‘public consumption’. During that time, I have written a considerable amount, which has been divided between professional and personal/private subject matters. Some of it has also been quite extensive, and therefore not suited to this blog – I’m going to have to figure out another more appropriate ‘forum’ for that.
At the end of the last article, I said I hadn’t forgotten to write about Bergen-Belsen, but was still distilling the experience – that’s still the case, but I expect that it will be next on the agenda, and I’ll do so in America.
I’m going to be in the USA for the next 5 weeks. It’ll be a mixture of professional and personal activities, I will be undertaking a roadtrip with my very dear friend, artist Susan Gorsen. I will spend most of the first week in Louisville, Kentucky, this being my 4th visit, meeting with other artist friends and discussing possible exchange projects for next year.
Then Susan and I will set out to travel our plans include Michigan, New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Virginia then back to Louisville. We have arrangements made to meet up/stay with people in some of those places, but I hope that ‘serendipity’ will be our greatest companion.
Up until this point in this blog, I haven’t really mentioned the nature of my arts practice, which is ‘diverse’ to say the least. It involves the development of 12 ‘identities’ under whose names I am creating a series of artworks as an exploration of identity and as a challenge to intolerance among human beings. Each of these identities has been given a place of origin/birth in the world and a place where they now live and make work. It is my intention over the next 12 years to travel to these places and live there for periods of months at a time and engage in this ‘practice-based’ research project.
The main motivational force behind this trip is research into the ‘narrative’ behind the arts practice of one of those fictional characters/identities: ‘Cyril Keller’, whose theme is ‘life and death’. Each of the dozen characters is exploring 1 word or theme, and is working in 1 medium and/or style – so the work being developed looks like the work of totally different individuals.
Bergen-Belsen, and its other ‘counterparts’ in the industrialised and mechanised killing ‘system’ developed by the Nazi regime in Europe of the 1930s and 40s, then is a major motivational factor behind, and subject of Cyril’s arts practice. His theme is further subdivided/clarified by an exploration of the phrase ‘private and public genocide’.
All fairly heavy subject matter, but although the final artworks created will contain a degree of ‘menace’ there will also be considerable entertainment value and indeed humour, even if it is ‘dark’ in nature. [much in evidence in Northern Ireland society] The final results of Cyril’s exploration will be the development of a theatrical production, involving pyrotechnics, robotics, animatronics, etc… I’m looking forward to the results.
All this then in major contrast to the private/personal aspects of my life that have been developing in the last 5+weeks. While for now I’ll keep the details to myself, the love and romance that has been blossoming in my life; in a totally unexpected manner, is indeed the very best response any human being can make to the brutality of intolerance and the devastation and despair it can visit upon the human spirit.
Together, Kathryn and I have experienced a degree of joy and happiness that is obviously radiating quite widely around us – family, friends, colleagues and even strangers on the street have commented, smiled and teased – my favourite comment to date, was from a girl in a gallery/coffee shop who said to the waitress, “I’ll have some of whatever that pair have just had.
In the same way that hatred and mistrust is infectious, spreading like a virus – so to, living for beauty and love can bring healing where only hurt has been before.
Tuesday 5th August 2008
Location: flying across the Atlantic Ocean on Continental Airlines Flight CO 95Y
Originally posted: August 7th, 2008 | fine art practice, journal_ianf